Friday, June 26, 2015

indulgences


     Recently I treated myself to what I think of as a "real" workout outfit: a pair of pants, a sports bra, and 2 tops that coordinate. Up to this point, gym or exercise wear has consisted of oversized, worn-out tees and plain gray or black bottoms. Summer is when I work out the most, so I decided to treat myself to an upgrade.
    I thought about getting a plainer pair of pants, but decided the print was more of a treat.
     What's your idea of an indulgence?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

habits, both ways

chaudry maxi dress green purple print summer style
Chaudry dress, Ross

    Some days, all I need is a good dress.  I wore this on Sunday to take my dad out for sushi. I have a bad habit of buying pretty maxi dresses, then hardly wearing them because I somehow feel that they're too fancy. But I've vowed to break the habit, starting with this dress. It's too wonderful to not wear regularly - it's cotton with a cotton lining (so hard to find!) as well as just the right length off the rack (a delightful surprise when you're 5 feet tall). I plan to wear it to work, on the weekends, and every chance I get. 


    Speaking of habits, I'm reveling in my usual summer routine - early-morning aikido two times a week, lots of reading, and lots of crafting. Every summer I try to learn a new sewing skill, and this summer I learned how to piece together a baby quilt. The next step is to machine quilt and finish the edges. I really enjoyed the piecing together, but am a little worried about how the quilting's going to go.  It just occurred to me today that maybe I should have gone through the process of making a quilt with a much smaller project (say, a potholder) vs. plunging in with something that's meant to be a gift.  Oh, well, live and learn ...
    Here's what else I've been up to this summer, according to Instagram (my username is indigoblu3 if you'd like to be friends):

 

 I own way too much fabric (I have this bad habit of buying 5 yards at a time if I see a fabric I like), so some stashbusting was in order. I made myself three new pairs of PJ/lounge shorts. These might make cute Christmas gifts - just buy a tee in a matching color to make a set.

     I bought a book on Zentangles a while back, because it sounded like an easy way to incorporate creativity into my daily routine. This summer my goal is to draw one a day. This one was inspired by a discussion at meditation class - one of the regular students said that he hasn't really noticed any big changes or benefits, but that Zen is really about having the experience vs. hoping to benefit in some tangible way.
    What have you been up to lately? 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

bloom where you're planted

printed pants black and white chambray patterned pants

chambray top, thrifted
drapey twill pants, Old Navy
Kenneth Cole Reaction earrings, hand-me-down from sis

      I've been interested in trying out a pair of soft pants, but I tried on many pairs whose pocket placement made my hips look bigger. I tried these on at Old Navy in regular sizing and was excited to find out that the pockets worked for me. 
    I own a number of patterned skirts and dresses, but no patterned pants, so these are a great addition to my closet. (I have to confess, since buying these I also purchased a pair of shorts printed with tiny pineapples. And, they're light pink. Who  am I becoming?) They're lightweight and comfortable. After reading the online reviews, I ordered petite but hand-washed vs. machine washing as the tag says, since so many buyers reported shrinkage. These seem to have gotten just a bit shorter than I remember them being out of the package, but I wear fairly low shoes so it hasn't been a problem. I hope they don't keep shrinking, however! Perhaps I should have purchased them in regular and cut off a few inches, but they likely would still be sitting on my to-mend pile ...
    I was worried that my new pants would look a little too much like pajamas, so for my inaugural wearing I went with a more structured, formal top (well, as structured and formal as a chambray buttondown can be).  I wore this to grab lunch with my colleagues yesterday. I landed at my current school by chance - returning from two years of leave, I was placed there by the district and I knew nothing about the school - but over the past two years I've realized that I landed in a spot where I could grow. My colleagues are a great bunch - people who love kids, welcome new ideas, are willing to work hard and work together, and are ready to pick me up and encourage me when I hit setbacks. People who I've come to see as friends, people who I look forward to meeting for lunch during the summer. Teaching has its rewards and challenges, and I am beyond thankful to count my colleagues among the former.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

shades of blue

Tommy Bahama silk top, thrifted
Calvin Klein straight leg jeans, Ross
 tassel necklace, Forever 21

    Just a simple outfit for the end of the year ... today is the last day of school for students! I work tomorrow, but I'm already dreaming of sleeping in, reading as much as I want, getting back to sewing, and incorporating more physical activity into my routine. 

   A photo from our last field trip of the year, to a Hawaiian fish pond. The students really enjoyed getting in the water and scooping out sand. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

looking ahead

   Tommy Hilfiger shirtdress, Macy's
belt, Old Navy

     I initially planned on wearing a strand of purple-ish beads with this outfit, but when I looked in the mirror, it felt too busy. A shirtdress is the first type of dress that I felt comfortable wearing, and while I've added other silhouettes to my closet, it remains a favorite. It's perfect for those days that I want a feminine yet unfussy outfit.
    I've been thinking a lot about balance lately, as it relates to my profession. As much as I care about what I do, as much as I strive to reach every one of my 23 students everyday, there has to be a balance. That balance can be hard to find, especially when you tend to fall into self-criticism and self-doubt the way I do. At the same time, I can see the positive side of being self-critical ... at its best, questioning what I do pushes me to keep looking for new methods and new ideas. We're entering the crazy last two months of the school year, which is packed with some fun stuff (field trips and May Day), and some challenging stuff (standardized testing). I'm already realizing where I fell short this year, and that in two months, I cannot significantly remake key aspects of my instruction. However, I am still game to make small tweaks and try new things. There's a lot that needs to be accomplished before the students race out of the classroom on that last, joyous day of school, and my goal is to tackle what I need to do, learn from my mistakes, and let go of the rest.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

relaxed

boho hippie black dress summer style


Philosophy by Republic Clothing dress, Ross

     I usually avoid buying dresses with a ruffle on the bottom, because I think it can look a bit too little-girlish. However, on a breezy day, it was fun to wear something that fluttered in the wind.
     I bought this dress a while back, but this was its inaugural outing. My main reservation about buying this dress was that it is sheer. I'm wearing a very old, cheap jersey skirt on the bottom and a camisole on the top.
      I wore this dress to work, which made me reflect on how fortunate I am to have a rather casual dress code. I'm always striving to put together outfits that have a little polish yet are comfortable, appropriate, and practical for both the temperature and classroom activities. This is probably on the outer edge of what I'd consider acceptable for work.

    I just returned from a very quick trip to Utah, to see my sis graduate. It was pleasantly cool, with a low in the 40s. I reveled in wearing my blazer, cardigan and scarf -- all at once! There's also nothing cozier than crawling under a blanket or two on a chilly night.

Monday, May 18, 2015

woodblock and lucky finds

Old Navy top Calvin Klein jeans black and white print teacher style

sleeveless split-neck top, Old Navy clearance
Calvin Klein straight-leg jeans, Ross
necklace, New Zealand trip souvenir

       A loose-fitting, flowy top has been my Kryptonite lately. Add in a print that reminds me a bit of a Japanese woodblock, and I'm ready to buy! This was a easy, comfortable outfit.
 
wood and bone necklace black and white print top teacher style
     
    Yesterday, I stopped by Ross and scored two pairs of shoes. One pair is from a brand that I haven't heard of before - Cobb Hill by New Balance. These Omara slides feel amazingly supportive.
       I also picked up a pair of New Balance sneakers.  My hope is to figure out how to wear them with a dress, which would be the perfect combination of comfort and style. I was inspired by Brittney of Another Beautiful Thing -- her pairing of a snakeskin print dress and black sneakers is chic and effortless.